There have been many important advancements in automotive safety over the past few years. Thanks to technology and a relentless engineering focus, new automobiles are much safer today than they were five and ten years ago.
The efforts are paying off in saving lives; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports traffic fatalities on American roads are lower than ever. That is something to applaud, but as long as people are dying there is more work to be done. Today General Motors is releasing an industry-first center front airbag system. It was developed in partnership with GM supplier Takata.
The system deploys between the driver and front passenger, and provides an effective cushion between the driver and front passenger during driver- and passenger-side collisions. The aim is to limit the impact of the two colliding. When the driver is alone it serves to limit travel of the neck and body over into the passenger seat, something likely to reduce neck injuries. The center airbag adds to the plethora of airbag systems already available to maximize passenger protection. The system will be available on GM’s updated 2013 model Lambda crossovers, which include the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.
It will be standard on Acadia and Traverse models with power seats, and on all Enclave models. The Lambda crossovers are quite popular, and it makes sense to debut on these models given most are used as family haulers. Ford recently made airbag advances of its own with the seat-belt airbag on the new Explorer. We’re glad to see this kind of industry-leading effort from GM, and this new system looks to be a strong selling point for GM’s crossovers. GM has released footage below showing side impacts without the system and with it. It’s an interesting watch and gives us a look at some of the benefits it will provide.